"A Laotian and French colonial fusion"
If you’ve been in Southeast Asia for a while, the cakes, excellent baguettes and western food on offer will be a welcomed change to the palette.
Things to see and do:
Kuang Si Falls- A little out of town but worth a visit and you can bath in the pools here (20,000 kip entry)
Old Quarter- A tourist street with shops, restaurants and bars full of old french colonial buildings
Wat Xieng Thong- A mildly interesting temple (20,000 kip entry)
Phousi Hill- A fantastic view of the entire city. (20,000 kip entry)
Night Market- For souvenirs, food and Laotian handcrafts
Utopia- A restaurant/bar and total must visit due to it’s location! they also have morning yoga at 7:30am
How to get around:
Many people rent bicycles, mopeds or motorcycles but these can be quite expensive for the budget traveller. Nevertheless, Luang Prabang is quite an easy place to get around on foot as the main area is quite small.
Tuk Tuks are also relatively cheap at around 20,000-25,000 Kip for short trips
Your hostel/hotel may also offer you a local shared taxi to take you to Kuang Si waterfalls as it about 26km outside of the city (price starts around 50,000 Kip)
Food to try:
Sticky rice (Khao Niaw)
The people of Laos are generally known for being very smiley and helpful, and despite the high influx of tourism in Luang Prabang, their nature hasn’t changed. They are always trying to answer your questions despite the language barriers and will try their level best to accommodate you.
Laotian people are incredibly proud of who they are and their culture so if you think they will accept western behaviour in their country like their neighbours in Thailand then you will have a shock to your system. Public displays of affection are frowned upon, walking around in your bathers/swimmers is a big no no and if you’re into recreational drugs, I would find another country to visit as the police here will fine you $500 USD if you get caught (a prison sentence can also be on offer), it is illegal for a foreigner to be with a local without the governments permission in Laos and they still have the death penalty for breaking certain laws.
By all means enjoy the Laotian culture, learn about it, enjoy their delicious food but remember where you are and who is watching. It’s a great place to visit and great reminder of how cities have changed over time.